TAMPA — Tampa Prep withstood a 24-point outburst from Blake sophomore guard Andre Smith and held on for a 55-50 win Monday to advance to the championship game of the City of Tampa Championship.
"He's tough," Terrapins coach Joe Fenlon said of Smith. "He's just a very good player and scored even when we defended him well."
Tampa Prep took an eight-point lead in the first quarter, but the Yellow Jackets cut the deficit to two going into halftime after Smith had a nine-point second quarter.
Blake jumped out quickly in the third quarter and led by as many as five points after Smith hit one of his three 3-pointers.
The Terrapins eventually regained the lead midway through the fourth and Blake was never able to get back in front.
"Once we got the lead we were able to get a lot of fastbreak opportunities, and that takes a lot out of the opposing team when that happens," Fenlon said.
Jamal Cherry led Tampa Prep with 15 points and Jay Bowie added 13. Senior Andrew Marchetti had eight points off the bench, including a key 3-pointer to tie the game early in the fourth quarter.
Tampa Prep will face Hillsborough for the championship after the Terriers rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat Chamberlain 66-58 in the other semifinal.
Alvon Woodard scored a game-high 16 for Hillsborough while Chiefs forward Eric Storts led all scorers with 23.
"If we protect the ball we will have a good chance to beat Hillsborough," Fenlon said. "We'll see how well we handle their athleticism."